As their anxiety and stress levels continue to rise, more people are turning to therapy to cope with life’s challenges. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you deal with any issue that involves your thoughts and behaviors. This can include tackling phobias, anxiety, depression, ADHD, trauma, low self-esteem, addiction, and other mental health challenges and relationship problems. If you’re considering therapy, you’ll need to find a qualified therapist that fits your needs. Finding a qualified CBT therapist can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for and where to start. To help make the process a little easier, we’ve put together a list of tips that can help you find a qualified CBT therapist that’s right for you.
What Is CBT?
CBT is a form of therapy based on the idea that what you think and feel determines what you do. The aim of CBT is to help you realize how negative thoughts and feelings shape your day-to-day actions. For example, thinking that “no one cares about you” can cause you to feel isolated, lonely, sad, hopeless, and worthless. Feeling this way can also cause you to drink excessively or use drugs. Thinking that “everything is your fault” can lead you to feel guilty, ashamed, and helpless, which, in turn, can make you isolate yourself from others. CBT helps you notice these patterns and acknowledge how they affect your decisions and way of life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help you reframe negative thoughts and feelings. Because your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected, changing your thoughts can help shift your feelings and then modify your behavior. CBT can help you change your thinking by teaching you several different strategies to combat and overcome negative thoughts. You might do this by:
- Restructuring and reframing negative ideas
- Learning to calm your mind and relax through deep breathing and muscle relaxation
- Role-playing to prepare for potentially problematic interactions
- Distracting yourself with scheduled pleasant activities
There are a number of different techniques your therapist may use. But ultimately, the goal of CBT is to change negative thoughts into healthier, constructive thoughts which can lead to healthier, more productive behavioral patterns.
5 Tips For Finding A Qualified CBT Therapist
Finding the right therapist requires a good amount of research, quite a bit of patience, and some intuition. Even though all therapists provide mental health services, each individual therapist has a different type of training, experience, insights, and personality. Knowing what to look for and where to look are the first steps to finding a qualified CBT therapist.
A qualified CBT therapist will have:
- A bachelor’s, master’s, or postgraduate degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field
- A state license to practice therapy and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of clinical experience
- Specialized CBT training and CBT certification
- Active listening skills
- Non-judgemental approach to counseling
Here are a few tips to find one.
1. Consult your Insurance Plan’s Provider Directory
If you’re planning to use insurance to help cover the cost of CBT, look through your health insurance plan’s provider network. This network will list the therapist’s name, degrees, specialization, skills, and experience. Most provider directories also let you know whether or not the therapist is accepting new clients. As you search for a therapist, find out whether your plan has a certain number of sessions you can attend per year and if using an out-of-network therapist will cost more or not.
2. Use a Reliable Online Database
Most mental health organizations have free, up-to-date, searchable databases of licensed therapists on their website. Many of these organizations allow you to use their database by simply typing in your zip code. Once you have a list of results, you can filter therapists by searching for their area of expertise and by looking for those that have specific experience using cognitive behavioral therapy.
Some of the most common reputable databases for therapists include the:
- American Psychological Association
- Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- National Board for Certified Counselors
- Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
3. Explore Local Resources
Don’t forget to use local resources. Most businesses, organizations, and communities have resources you can use. If you’re a student, your school counselor can help refer you to an experienced CBT therapist. Your doctor should also have a list of qualified CBT therapists in your area. If you’re a person of faith, your church, mosque, synagogue, or other worship centers may have a list of qualified CBT therapists affiliated with your specific beliefs and values. If you’re employed and feel comfortable speaking with your human resources personnel, you can ask them for a list of therapists available through your workplace wellness or employee assistance program (EAP). If you’re local to Arizona, feel free to reach out to one of our team members. We can also help connect you with a qualified CBT therapist.
4. Enroll in a Professional Mental Health Treatment Program
Professional mental health treatment programs like ours at StoneRidge Centers can also help connect you with a qualified CBT therapist. In addition to helping reduce some of the research and background work on your end, professional mental health treatment programs can also introduce you to other skills and techniques that can help you overcome life’s challenges. Our mental health treatment program, for example, includes:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- SMART goal workshops that can teach you how to set and achieve realistic goals
- A brain diet that emphasizes the connection between nutrition, mental health, and wellness
- MUSE meditation which can help you manage anxiety and maintain a sense of calmness
- Process groups that can help you practice the CBT skills and techniques you learned in therapy
5. When You Find a CBT Therapist or Treatment Program You Like, Ask Questions
Even after you find a qualified CBT therapist, you should make sure that the therapist fits your needs and makes you feel comfortable. Asking questions can be a great way to make sure the therapist or treatment program matches what you’re looking for. Here are a few questions we recommend.
- How much experience do you have working with people who are dealing with the issue I am dealing with?
- What is your specialty or area of expertise?
- What kinds of CBT skills/techniques have you found most effective in resolving the issue I’m dealing with?
- What insurance do you accept? If so, are you a part of my insurance network?
- Are you a licensed psychologist in this state?
- How many years have you practiced cognitive behavioral therapy?
Helping You Restore Your Mental Health
Here at StoneRidge, we believe that mental health is a key aspect of overall wellness. That’s why we provide brain-focused mental health support and treatment. You don’t have to live with anxiety, depression, or any other type of psychological or emotional distress. Our treatment program can help restore your mental health. We can also help connect you with a qualified, licensed CBT therapist. Let us help you. Contact us today.
Innovative, Evidence-Based Therapies
Because mental health and addiction concerns are so often interconnected, we utilize research-based approaches with evidence-based outcomes that promote overall healing and recovery.